Retired U.S. Army General and former CIA Director David Petraeus on Sunday weighed in on the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Afghanistan.
While speaking with John Catsimatidis, host of New York WABC 770 AM radio’s “The Cats Roundtable,” Petraeus described the decision by President Joe Biden as “an absolute tragedy that is becoming worse with each passing day.”
“[T]his is an absolute tragedy that is becoming worse with each passing day, sadly,” Petraeus stated. “It is a nightmare for the Afghan people — our partners for 20 years. It clearly has to be assessed as a setback for the United States, for our allies, who, as you know, just spent 20 years there. And it’s becoming a humanitarian catastrophe on top of everything else. So, it’s a very, very dire, very sad, nightmarish situation.”
He continued, “I said at the very beginning I feared that we would regret this decision. And I fear that that has become realized. And much of this was predictable — and frankly preventable. If we had been willing to maintain the very modest number of troops that we had there — 3,500 — that kept 8,500 coalition forces there. It kept 18,000 contractors there, who maintain the sophisticated U.S.-provided helicopters and Air Force aircraft that are trying to support the Afghan forces. And we very rapidly, and frankly, hastily withdrew that and our close air support and our drones and all the rest that used to enable the Afghan security forces.”
Petraeus said he “feared” pulling out of Afghanistan would result in the return of “barbaric Taliban activities.”
“And as I feared would happen, and stated this, if you pull those contractors out, the operational readiness of the Afghan Air Force was going to degrade fairly quickly,” Petraeus outlined. “And if you were an Afghan soldier out in a far-flung location, and the Taliban are conducting a simultaneous offensive in numerous locations all around the country, you’ll fight for a couple of days, three days. And if you start to realize there are no forces coming to the rescue … eventually, you’re going to conclude that your situation is doomed and, tragically, you’ll do what Afghan forces have been doing, which is either surrender, flee, desert, or what have you. And then this becomes psychological.
“They are certainly not observing the laws of land warfare, to put it mildly — the Geneva convention,” he added. “Again, all of that should’ve been expected.”
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